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Find out what it takes to be eligible for Canadian immigration and begin your clear path to Canada.

Eligibility Criteria to work in Canada

Foreign nationals require a work permit to be eligible to work in Canada, with some exemptions. To apply for a work permit, candidates will require a Canadian job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

There are exceptions to this requirement, where candidates can apply for a work permit without an LMIA, or even a job offer. Some examples of this include, being a Recent graduate from Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI), or being a spouse of someone already on a work or a study permit.

There are specific requirements you need to meet depending on where you are when you apply for your work permit. You must

Types of Canadian Work Permits

There are many different options for obtaining a Canadian work permit. Please refer to the following categories below to determine the work permit which best suits your qualifications

Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
  • Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)
  • Global Talent Stream
LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract
  • International Mobility Program (IMP)
  • NAFTA Work Permits
  • CETA Work Permits
  • Intra-Company Transfers
Open Work Permits (no job offer or LMIA required)
  • Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
  • Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada
  • International Experience Canada (IEC) (working holiday visa)
  • Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
  • Spouse Accompanying International Student or Worker

Ways to Obtain a Canadian Work Permit:

Depending on the type of work permit a person is applying for, the process for obtaining a work permit varies greatly. For example, an international student studying in Canada will most times be automatically issued authorization to work part time as part-time as part of their study permit authorization.

There are two general pathways for obtaining a Canadian work permit: a closed (restricted) work permit and an open work permit. Most closed work permit applications require that a foreign national has an official job offer from a Canadian employer which is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even those who are LMIA-exempt or exempt from requiring a work permit should be aware of the unique documentation they need to prepare in order to ensure they are granted entry to Canada.

Closed work permits are tied to specific employers, this means that a foreign national issued a closed work permit must remain working with the same employer at the same location unless they change their work permit.

Immigration Tip: Canadian permanent residents do not require a work permit to work in Canada. Permanent resident status gives a person the legal right to live and work anywhere in the country. Find out more about permanent immigration options for professional and skilled workers.

Different Eligibility Criteria

When you apply from outside Canada
Anyone can apply before they enter Canada. However, there may be visa office requirements that you need to meet depending on what country or territory you’re applying from. Make sure you follow the instructions for how to apply.
When you apply from inside Canada

You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if:

  • You have a valid study or work permit.
  • Your spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit.
  • Your spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit.
  • You have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more.
  • You’re waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada.
  • You made a claim for refugee protection, you’ve been recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
When you enter Canada at a port of entry
You should apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada. However, you can apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if you’re eligible.

To apply at a port of entry (POE), you must meet all the following:

  • be eligible for an electronic travel authorization or to travel without a visitor visa (find out if you need a visa)
  • be eligible to enter Canada while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place